Amphiphobic surfaces from functionalized TiO2 nanotube arrays

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  • Vertically-oriented, self-organized TiO2 nanotube arrays (TNAs) are a highly ordered n-type semiconducting nanoarchitecture with a wide range of potential applications. We generated low energy surfaces repellent to a broad spectrum of liquids by functionalizing TNAs using monolayers of two different fluorinated hydrocarbon molecules: perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA) and 1H, 1H′, 2H, 2H′-perfluorodecyl phosphonic acid (PFDPA). Nanotubes of two different outer diameters (50 nm and 130 nm) were studied and their wetting behavior analyzed in liquids belonging to different solvent classes to infer the nature of the wetting states. We show that the wetting behavior of perfluorinated monolayer-functionalized TNAs in polar liquids is explained by fakir or Cassie-states whilst the wetting behavior of bare nanotubes in every liquid is explained by Wenzel-type states. On the other hand, a transition between the Cassie and Wenzel states due to closed pores in the TNA architecture dictates the wetting behavior of functionalized TNAs in apolar liquids. The wetting behavior of functionalized TNAs is understood considering the synergistic effect of geometric and chemical surface modification. PFDPA-functionalized TNAs were found to be resilient to 24 hours of exposure to water and ethylene glycol at a static fluid pressure of 0.105 MPa, and are one step closer towards the realization of a mechanically robust omniphobic surface. At the same time, an understanding of wetting behavior will be useful in the design and optimization of a wide range of interface-sensitive devices such as metal oxide nanotube/nanopore array based sensors, implants, flow-through membranes, photocatalysts and heterojunction solar cells.

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    Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International